Padmaja joined the Master’s program right at the start. When asked about what motivated her to join an extensive program and not a short-term course, she says, ‘I had been doing a few Machine Learning (ML) courses, independently, and for a while, before joining Univ.AI. I picked up problem statements and tried to solve them simultaneously while learning the technologies involved.’
But she felt this method of learning wasn’t organized, and wanted to join a program where she could go through all the concepts one step at a time. Something that was more organized, that covered all the topics right from the basics and all the way to complex concepts.
“I needed something LIVE. That’s where Univ.AI’s Master's in AI and ML Program fit the bill perfectly.”
Talking about her favorite features of the course, Padmaja says, ‘The way the course is built, along with the exercises and labs, made it more helpful for people from any background.’ The labs, quizzes, and in-class exercises were structured so perfectly that even if a particular concept was unclear during the lecture, the breakout rooms helped clear it immediately. Specifically mentioning Prof. Pavlos Protopapas, she talked to us about how he would often stay back beyond the regular lecture hours to clarify any and all doubts that students had. After each module, he even had a separate session where he would mentor students about any doubts they had, be it about the process for applying to the master’s program or helping make a decision about choosing research projects or a job.
“My confidence also increased after the course”
Self-learning for me was often very clumsy’. Like the professor always says, “if your foundations are strong enough, you can build on them very easily”. The program provided me with an environment to share my thoughts. Having the teaching assistants (TAs) and faculty validate them was very enriching, she adds, when talking about her “classroom experience”. ‘The course gave me confidence in my skills. After the program, I was way more confident in what I pitched to my managers, colleagues and others, as well asd about being able to deliver results. Apart from this, I am now also confident in my skills to enter and participate in different hackathons and challenges.
About her expectations from the program before joining, and comparing them to the reality she says she had an idea about what her experience might be with the professors of the program, but what she didn’t expect – and was pleasantly surprised by – were the amusing TAs and her peer group.
Padmaja is quick to explain how even if a few exercises were a little difficult, the TAs were always there in the breakout rooms to help, and how everything from the labs to homework were well designed. ‘Every part had very clear instructions as to what had to be done to make it less intimidating even for beginners.’
“Even when I found myself stuck despite all this, I had a helpful forum with both TAs and peers lending a hand or an ear.”
When asked about what she found the most challenging part of the program, she talks about balancing work commitments along with the course. ‘This is a course that needs a minimum of 15 hours a week of complete dedication to get the most out of it. Just listening to the lectures doesn’t work. As students, we have to put in extra effort to get the most out of it and, for me, finding the time to completely devote myself to the course was a little difficult.’
In the end, we asked Padmaja what she would have done differently if given a chance to do the course all over again. ‘I wish I would have concentrated a little more on the pre- and post-class reading assignments! They often made understanding the lectures easier.’
So, would she recommend Univ.AI to her fellow peers? ‘Well of course, YES, she tells us with a smile!’